Relâche :: Revista Eletrônica da Casa Hoffmann -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Workshop with Lia Rodrigues Photo: Fundação Cultural de Curitiba
Relâche / Casa Hoffmann
CH: You have been the artistic director of Panorama RioArte de Dança since 1992. In some private
sponsoring projects, like those with Petrobrás and Banco do Brasil, we can find the topic "brasility" as a relevant aspect to the appreciation of a project. How do you perceive the issue of “brasility” in dance?
Lia: I think there are several 'Brazils'. We can look at the Brazilian culture through several prisms and in each one we will find cultural productions that also are extremely diverse.
How can one judge what is being Brazilian or not in a work of art? Is this relevant? Who will stamp each work as "made in Brazil"?
If we look at the lack of consistent programs of public politics for culture when Fernando Henrique Cardoso was the President, and for the Performing Arts since Lula took office (up to February 2004), I might say that the government should worry less about the matter of who is more or less Brazilian. We should really work in the sense of creating something that does not exist: a true program of financing and diffusion of the cultural products with clear and democratic rules of application. And one that allows for a real financial investment.
CH: We would like you to talk a little about how Panorama has been contributing in the development
of an audience that is able to enjoy the art of deterritorialization, since the boundaries between dance,
theater and the visual arts seem to be more and more diluted...
Lia: I think that Panorama contributes as it shows the works of the national and foreign artists who discuss this matter. It also contributes by means of lectures, videos, residences, promoting meetings and exchanges.
CH: What are the criteria for the selection of the artists that you bring to ? Panorama
Lia: I created the and I have been its general and artistic director for 12 years. I have also Panorama
counted on the precious curatorship of Roberto Pereira for seven years. Nayse Lopes has directed the residence projects for the last three years. We work as a team to discuss Panorama’s format and program. I have also relied on the help of many colleagues who are programmers of other festivals in Brazil and Europe, and of directors of institutions such as the Goethe Institute, the British Council and the Consulate of France, among others. To tell you the truth, it is a large cooperation network. The Rio de Janeiro City Hall is our main sponsor, in financial terms (in the year 2003 we received R$ 320.000,00) and also regarding the cession of the Carlos Gomes Theater and of the Espaço
. We have been using the Copacabana SESC and the Maison de France Cultural Sergio Porto
, too. But a Festival of this size actually has a real cost of approximately R$1.000.000.00. Theater
Another part of this budget is granted by partners and supporters. Our general producer, Alexandra di Calafiori and the Panorama team have to participate with part of the financial investment to guarantee the quality and the programming. For you to have an idea of our difficulties, consider that it is February 2004 and the last part of the money that the City Hall should pay us has not been paid yet. The Festival has been over for three months already. This means great financial losses that we have to cover. As we all know, a Festival runs for 12 months a year uninterruptedly because the contacts, trips, delivery and receiving of material, conception of ideas, etc. take place throughout the year, and the money (a part of it) is received only a month before the Festival begins.
The Panorama does not have just a single objective: it may and must perform several roles. It may and must act in several areas. Likewise, it may and must also inform about and place in evidence different forms of making and thinking dance, through the works of national and international artists, unknown in Rio de Janeiro.
We are always alert to the constant and dynamic movement of dance, its creators, their different ways of establishing and associating themselves and the arising of new trends and proposals. We think about creating a favorable environment for the free flow of information, ideas, questionings, fostering discussions and reflections, thus promoting the creation of new contact networks.
Therefore, in the Panorama we work with the following proposals:
* Residences, which offer courses of three weeks with invited professionals.
* We invest in the new generation with the continuity of the Novíssimos [very new] project (an
exhibition of new creators from Rio). Novíssimos Curadores [very new curators] (students from dance
colleges in the city of Rio de Janeiro who are responsible for curatorship’s choices and format of the night of the Novíssimos). Novíssimos Críticos [very new critics] is a dance workshop with college
students who criticize the works of the Novíssimos.
* We offer the opportunity to tryout in other areas of artistic creation with the project Curator-Creator, which invites choreographers to grade and organize one of the nights of the festival. Having existed for 12 consecutive years in Brazil is in itself a resistance manifesto. The price of the ticket being R$1.00 opens up and also forms new public, allowing for inclusion and democratization in the access to the culture.
In fact, this festival has only survived to this day due to the partnerships that were established: with the artists, with the institutions that invest in it, with a wonderful production team, with special people who have been supporting us each year, with the press that opens an incredible space. At last, the Panorama is a festival built upon the union of strengths and desires.
I think that the word ‘mission’ explains well how I feel about being the head of this project. The
working conditions are not the ideal ones, but when I watch the shows and see the crowded seminars, everything is worth it.
CH: It seems to be a privilege (an achieved privilege) the fact that Rio de Janeiro has two events as the Panorama, under Roberto Pereira and your curatorship, and Dança Brasil directed by Leonel
Brum. How do these events relate to and contribute in each other?
Lia: The Panorama was already five years old when Leonel came to me to talk about a festival that he was just starting to organize for the CCBB [the Cultural Center of the Bank of Brazil]. We had already worked together, he as an actor and I as a choreographer in a theater play. We talked extensively and I told him exactly how the Panorama was.
In the following year, in 1997 the first dance Brazil took place and it was there that I first showed two of my creations, Folia in 1997 and Formas Breves [Brief Forms] in 2002.
This is a Festival that I respect a lot and we have worked in true collaboration, enriched in the last years with Silvia Soter joining the curatorship.
But nowadays, Rio has a real privileged profile, because there are several events and programs of professional dance such as: the SESC Copacabana (the regular annual program and the 'Solos do SESC'), the Carioca Circuit of Rio City Hall, the X-ray’ Project of UniverCidade [UniverCity], created by
Roberto Pereira, and The Cahier de la Danse, a project which Silvia Soter and I developed in
partnership with the Consulate of France, among other initiatives.
The Panorama was by itself for many years, but now the dialogue with so many other projects is very stimulating.
CH: You declared during your workshop at Casa Hoffmann that you tour with your shows as much to festivals abroad as to small cities in Brazil. Is there any difference in the audience’s reception?
Lia: Audience reaction is practically the same in such different places as Paris, Berlin, Montreal or there in the Crato, interior of Ceará or in Acre, Tocantins, Rondônia, or Rio.
It is very important to dance in cities that normally remain out of the restricted routes where the artistic Brazilian productions circulate. We are always welcome by respectful and interested people, clearly anxious to be in contact with the artistic scene of other states. The biggest issue involves the presentation conditions. Certainly, this is very different. The same distance that separates Rio de Janeiro from Peru, for example, separates us from the north of Brazil, as incredible as this might seem. The high cost of transportation, the lack of adequate places for performances and the belief that there is no audience for art in this region make an excursion to the North seem completely improbable. The merging of efforts and projects sometimes enables us to cross this frontier.
An example was our participation in a very important project created by Sidnei Cruz for the SESC National called (Rotating Stage) in 2001. We performed from the northeast in the Palco Giratório
interior of Ceará, (Crato and Juazeiro) to 18 cities in the southern state of Santa Catarina.
In 2002, with the maintenance sponsorship of Brazil Telecom plus the project